One Album Wonders: The Free Spirits' Out of Sight and Sound

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2014 12:11pm | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. During that period, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album -- Perfect for completists on a budget! This series examines some of my favorite "one album wonders."



The Free Spirits - Out of Sight and Sound

With a few exceptions (notably Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, The Graham Bond Organisation, and The Doors), jazz and rock musicians moved tended to travel in separate circles until the late 1960s when jazz musicians Gary Burton, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and others created fusionLater, rock groups like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, and the bands of the Canterbury Scene would incorporate jazz instrumentation and improvisation in what has sometimes been called jazz rock.

Located somewhere in the middle of fusion and jazz-rock (but definitely closer to the later) were New York City's The Free Spirits, comprised of Bob Moses, Chris Hills, Columbus Baker, Jim Pepper, and Larry Coryell. Drummer Bob Moses had previously played with Roland Kirk and guitarist Larry Coryell had been introduced on Chico Hamilton's soul jazz classic, The Dealer, in 1966.

The Free Spirits released Out of Sight and Sound on ABC Records in 1967. Although it's a fine collection of music, the union proved to be short. With double tracked vocals, and liberal use of sitar, it probably holds more appeal for fans of pop psych or sunshine pop than it does for serious rock or jazz heads -- which is part of its breezy, easy appeal.

After The Free Spirits moved apart, Moses has enjoyed a long career as a musician and instructor. Chris Hills and Columbus Baker formed the free funk band, Everything is Everything who, in 1971 (and in collaboration with vocalist Chico Walters) released Comin' Outta The Ghetto. Jim Pepper had a fairly long career as a solo artist before passing away in 1992. Coryell went on to have a long, respected career as a bandleader and sideman that continues into the present. 


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